Finally, the action in Fillory starts to feel like more than filler! This was one of those episodes where everything that happened seemed vitally important to every plot point that’s come before, so let’s unpack some things and dive in.
Coconut Oil and Trufies
After King Idri shows up for the royal wedding to Eliot and unexpectedly becomes a rat (as does the rest of the entourage, hence the Rattening), Eliot decides to dispense a little truth serum to his nearest and dearest. Everyone’s been up to shenanigans, but none of it is super threatening to his High Kingliness. This truth-roofie-ing is booooring until Margo vomits up a little truth about Fen and how she exchanged their unborn baby for the wellspring’s Royal Flush. Eliot consigns her to the dungeons (allowing her to have her coconut oil, of course), and gets a little mopey with Hoberman. They discuss ways to make Fillory better, while a royal envoy offers Margo a rescue mission to save Fen and the baby. While Margo bravely departs for all points fairy, Eliot and Josh Hoberman accidentally invent democracy for Fillory which. . . has the unintended effect of ejecting Eliot from Fillory. As in past episodes, we know that a High King cannot leave the realm, so this means Eliot has been unseated from the throne. Every magical kingdom has rules you shouldn’t break, so back to Brakebills for Eliot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A Handbook for the Recently Deceased
In pursuit of Julia’s shade, Quentin and Julia seek out an Ancient One. The dragon they find can send them to the Underworld for a price: Q’s button for 24 hours with the dead. Will he be locked out of Fillory forever? It doesn’t matter. He gives it up, and away they go. The Underworld is more Beetlejuice than Fillory, with a hotel-like purgatory that threatens to keep them trapped the entire time. Fortunately, the Freetraders Beowulf reunite with Julia and help her hatch a plan to find her shade. But Q and Julia find more than that: they find Alice’s shade, ripped from her during niffin-ization. For some crazy reason, they can only bring one shade back, so Julia grabs Alice’s shade on a whim and they peace the heck outta there. Among the other Underworld discoveries they make is that OLU (Our Lady Underground), the goddess that the Freetraders tried to summon, actually exists. Twitter theorized that it’s Persephone, which would make total sense. Also, in the related political storyline, Reynard confesses that he KNEW OLU, and somehow their relationship became sour. This explains a lot about his nasty habits on Earth, right?
Libraries and Secrets
Penny and Kady need to get into the Poison Room, but require a strategy—that is, more of a strategy than having sexytimes in an astral plane while Kady’s at Brakebills and Penny’s in the Neitherworld. Penny is trying to figure out more about the Head Librarian, who won’t even give up her own name! That’s when Sylvia appears: looks like a kid, knows an awful lot about how the library works. She tells Penny that the Head Librarian is Zelda, a gal with a real past. What’s the best way to figure someone out in the Neitherlands? Read their life book! But of course, Zelda’s has been shifted to the Poison Room. Someone’s been a very naughty librarian. I bet we haven’t seen the last of Sylvia.
Like I said, the pacing of this season has seemed a little disjointed. It tends to make episodes like this one feel like an info dump, and create frustration with the slower-paced episodes where we’re seeing more character development and backstory fleshed out. But maybe the writers are trying to get viewers to experience the roller coaster ride that is magic: thrilling and terrifying at times, and ordinarily a little boring in the day-to-day of it all. Anyhow, this is definitely a top 3 episode for me this season, and I hope that the concluding two episodes will also rock my socks. “Ramifications” await our misadventuring magicians next week, and “It Begins” will round things out. Note that the final episode has possibly changed titles from “We Have Brought You Little Cakes,” so that’s interesting. Is Ember out of the picture now that the wellspring is fixed?